Travel Writing Is A Rewarding Second Career That Can Transform Retirement

by Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik Travel Writer

When I attended Great Escape’s Ultimate Travel Writing Workshop in San Diego in 2014, I knew it was time to make a change in my life.

I’ve been a registered nurse for 32 years and I’ve loved it.  It’s been an awesome and rewarding career but I can’t do it forever.  It’s time to take care of me.

I’m fast approaching the day where I’ll hang up my stethoscope for good, so that’s why I’m travel writing on the side.  I want to get my feet wet before I make the leap.  And with 120+ bylines under my belt now, I’d say I’m ready.

Here are five myths I once told myself about retirement that I can now say just aren’t true…

Myth #1: I’ll keep working until I die.

False. Not only false, but why? I love my career and I’ll surely be sad to say goodbye to it.  But now that I’ve had a taste of the travel writer’s life, I know this is what I want to do.

I’ve never been a sit-on-a-porch-swing-drinking-sweet-tea-watching-the-world-go-by kind of person.  That kind of retirement just isn’t for me.  But neither is working an exhausting career with very little vacation my whole life.

With travel writing, I can stay active, have fun, and experience new places and new adventures. And I’ll still have flexibility to do that whenever I want… and take down-time when I need it. There’s an empowerment that comes with being in charge of your own schedule, so I get the best of both worlds and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Myth #2: I’ll lose that “edge,” and no one will care what I have to say after I retire.

Again, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Readers who find your travel stories in print magazines and online care what you have to say and they’re incredibly grateful when you publish something that helps them plan an upcoming trip or open their eyes to a new destination.

If you’re like me, and you’re nearing retirement, you have a lot to offer the travel writing community too.  Your age and your life experiences represent a plethora of knowledge and information.  And now that I’ve had more than 100 stories published and am a columnist for three publications, I know that editors value my work, too, which is a great feeling.

Myth #3: I’ll have a difficult time finding a hobby, and I’m not into anything real technical.

Another myth. Retirement isn’t about being stressed at learning new skills – you don’t have to become a rocket scientist to follow your dreams. It’s about doing what you love.

I’ve always loved photography and travel, and I love to write. Putting these together has given me a wonderful and rewarding second career. Honing my photography and writing skills has given me even more confidence, too.  I love when people comment on my progress on Facebook.  It makes me feel good and I like looking back to see how far I’ve come, too.

Myth #4: I need to enjoy my money (and my good health) while I have it and spend, spend, spend before I die and the kids get everything.

The truth is, life expectancy has increased exponentially with each generation. We are living healthier and living longer than ever before. And chances are, I’ve got another 20-30 years ahead of me.

I have no intention of living the next five to ten years as if they’re my last.  And because I’m a travel writer, I get to travel to even more places without burning through my life’s savings.

I’m valuing every moment.  Enjoying conversations with each new person I meet.  Planning my next adventure before the last one ends.

The cost of my travels has decreased immensely. I no longer have to spend thousands of dollars for a vacation when stays at five-star resorts, meals at excellent restaurants, and interesting tours are complimentary or at reduced rates. I don’t have this crazy sense of urgency to enjoy my money while it lasts.  I can focus on enjoying my time instead.

Myth #5: I don’t know if I’ll stay busy enough.

Most retirees I’ve talked to say they’re busier and happier now that they’ve retired than they ever were working full-time.

The difference in retirement is that we get to control our own schedules. We get to choose where and when to travel and whom to write for. And we’re thoroughly enjoying all the perks that come with travel writing, like free wine tastings, gourmet dinners, sunset sails, theme park tickets, city tours, and river boat cruises.

As a bonus, we get to meet incredibly interesting people and make new friends along the way. And as one travel writer said while looking out over the azure blue Pacific waters from his beachfront villa stay in Mexico: “I absolutely love the view from my office.”  And who wouldn’t?

So, those lies you’re telling yourself about retirement: They’re not true. Not a one of them. And I, for one, am looking forward to fully embracing the lifestyle my retired writer colleagues are already enjoying.

Editors’s Note

Does your current retirement plan include trips to Paris to see the Eiffel tower? It should. Studies show people are happiest when they’re about to take a trip! Click here for a special video presentation on what your retirement could look like if you turn your spare time into adventures.


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